Trial booking system frequently asked questions

Answers to questions you may have about the new trial booking system

Last updated

31 August 2021

Booking or cancelling an appointment

  • The booking system went live on 18 March 2021, with the first slots available from 29 March 2021. Residents were restricted to 1 visit per week. From 1 June 2021, residents are able to book up to 5 visits per calendar month by visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk/BookToRecycle.

  • We are working to offer as many slots as possible in order to make sure that all residents who wish to use the centres are able to. If you cannot book the exact time slot you want, you will need to book an alternative slot. All available appointments are publicised on the booking system. Please do not call our Customer Service Centre to ask them for an appointment that is unavailable - our advisors are not able to book slots that are not available online.

  • You can cancel your slot online using the same web page that you booked on. Please make sure that if you need to cancel, you do it as soon as possible so that another resident can use the slot.

  • When you fill in the booking form there is an option to tick a box for a hire vehicle. You will need to tick this box and, if you know the vehicle registration number, provide it. If not, enter 'HIRE' in the vehicle registration box. You will need to take the hire vehicle paperwork with you when you visit the centre for your appointment.

  • If you are unable to access the booking system online, you can call our Customer Service Centre on 01243 642106 and they will be able to assist you. Ensure that you have the registration of the vehicle you will be attending in available at the time of calling as you will need it to book.

  • This will be fine if the person you're booking for is a West Sussex resident and able to show ID on arrival. If you are making the booking for someone else, make sure you enter the details of the person who will be attending the appointment. This is especially important for the vehicle registration number which cannot be changed once the appointment is booked.

  • There is no penalty for missing your slot. However, you will have to rebook. The number of slots is limited, so if you do not need your appointment please cancel and allow someone else to use it where possible.

  • Tradespeople are required to use the Transfer Station and weighbridge to dispose of their waste. This is a separate service and does not fall under the trial booking system. Recycling Centres are, by law, provided for the disposal of household waste by householders and are not open to traders.

Using sites during the trial

  • Appointment numbers are restricted to give all West Sussex residents fair access to the centres to dispose of recycling and waste that cannot be accepted in regular kerbside collections.

  • If you are producing a large amount of waste at one time, for example when moving, consider hiring a skip or contacting a waste removal firm.

  • From 29 March 2021, if you attend a centre that is taking part in the trial without pre-booking you will be asked to leave. The centres in the trial are:

    • Bognor Regis
    • Crawley
    • Horsham
    • Littlehampton
    • Shoreham-by-Sea
    • Worthing.
  • Yes. As this is a trial, the permit scheme will run alongside the booking system.

  • Yes. To find out what forms of ID are acceptable, visit our page about proof of residency.

Special circumstances

  • If you are producing a large amount of waste at one time, for example by clearing a house for a deceased relative, you could consider hiring a skip or contacting a waste removal firm.

    You can also call our Customer Service Centre on 01243 642106 to speak to us about your extenuating circumstances. We should stress this is for unusual situations where it would be very difficult for people to make alternative arrangements.

  • No. The service is restricted in order to give fair access to as many people as possible every week. In these circumstances we recommend you hire a skip or contract a waste removal firm.

  • Strictly speaking, carrying waste on behalf of other people requires you to have a waste carrier licence. It is therefore technically illegal to take waste to a centre for someone else. While we understand that people will sometimes help out relatives, friends and neighbours, this should not be a regular activity and should therefore not require more visits than the system currently allows for.

The trial and giving your views

  • The booking system is being trialled to help fairly balance demand for the service. While we hope things continue to improve, we are still subject to guidance to help protect our residents.

    Our experience at the end of December 2020 and again at the end of February 2021 is that centres could not cope with the number of people trying to use them at the same time. This led to major queues that disrupted local roads. Congestion causes inconvenience to neighbours of our centres with residents being unable to get in and out of homes, businesses experiencing delays to deliveries and workers arriving late for their shifts. 

    As we entered springtime, demand for centres increased substantially. The objective of the scheme is to provide fair access to as many residents as possible in any given week, in a way that is safe for staff and users and avoids disruption to local roads.

  • The trial is designed to see the impact that a booking system has on reducing congestion by spreading the usage of the centres throughout the day and week. Centres taking part in the trial were chosen due to historical peak time congestion problems and confirmed by increases in levels of use experienced over the Christmas and late February periods.

  • We will review all aspects of the trial before deciding whether or not to extend or implement it at further centres. The views of residents will be sought and considered.

    The only exception to this would be if significant problems occur at centres that are not in the trial. We may need to add other centres to the trial scheme if increased congestion is experienced at other locations.

  • A review of the one visit per week restriction that the trial started with took place at the end of May 2021. From 1 June 2021, the new limit to the number of visits allowed is 5 per calendar month. There are no plans to review this further before the end of the trial. 

  • The trial is scheduled to last for six months and will be reviewed in autumn 2021.

  • The Book To Recycle trial has been introduced at relatively short notice due to continuation of social distancing restrictions coinciding with the period of peak demand for access to RCs.

    We are keen to receive feedback from people using the service which will assist in reviewing the scheme.

  • You can provide feedback about the Book To Recycle trial by emailing bookingsystemfeedback@westsussex.gov.uk. Your comments will help us decide the future of the scheme. We cannot respond to all comments, but if we need more information we will contact you.

Addressing your concerns about the scheme

  • Household collections are operated by district and borough councils. Some areas are already collecting additional items at the kerbside, such as small electrical items and textiles. We are working with others who are considering introducing these collections in their areas. We encourage residents to make full use of their kerbside recycling, green and general waste collections wherever possible.

    Before planning a visit to your local RC, check what can be disposed of in your local household collections.

  • We have considered the use of webcams at RCs a number of times, but they are not practical for several reasons:

    • Most RCs have sharp turnings outside the centres - a camera on the gate would not provide a helpful view in these cases.
    • There are practical and legal restrictions to placing cameras elsewhere (such as local roads).
    • While cameras would be up to date when viewed at home, the situation can change in between leaving the house and arriving at the centre.
  • The additional cost of opening centres seven days a week for extended hours runs to £1.35m per year. The booking system and Customer Service Centre is expected to cost around £85,000 for the expected duration of the trial.

    Many of the issues caused at the centres are by people using them at peak times, for example arriving early and queuing before the site opens, while at other times they are quieter. Using the booking system to spread visits more evenly should enable all residents to gain access without waiting in queues for extended periods.

  • While some income is derived from the sale of recyclable material, it contributes very little to offset the £64m cost of the service as a whole. 

    The cost of opening the centres for seven days a week would not be offset by any increase in the amount of recycling or waste brought into centres during additional opening hours.

  • Most of the money raised by the council tax you pay is spent on the most vulnerable people in our community. For example 33 per cent is spent on vulnerable adults and 25 per cent on vulnerable children and schools. Recycling Centres account for about 0.1 per cent of the budget.

    These measures are being introduced in response to the COVID-19 situation. While we hope things continue to improve, we are subject to guidance on social distancing to protect our residents. We cannot refund council tax in these circumstances.

  • Fly-tipping is a criminal offence which can attract an unlimited fine and up to five years' imprisonment. West Sussex County Council (WSCC) takes this act very seriously and we work in partnership with the district and borough councils to monitor and manage this.  

    Although there has been a small rise in the number of fly-tips across West Sussex over the last year, these have largely involved commercial waste. We would recommend that anyone using a waste disposal firm ensures that they see the company's waste carrier licence. You can also make sure the firm is registered with the Environment Agency.

    We are currently developing a countywide initiative to highlight the problem of fly-tipping and how this can be avoided. We will be share further details in due course.

  • WSCC and West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service ask people not to have garden bonfires, especially at the current time when more vulnerable members of the community have been self-isolating and need to get fresh air into their homes.  

    Using a bonfire to dispose of household waste is illegal and garden waste bonfires cause a nuisance if they adversely affect others.   

    We encourage garden composting and offer a subsidised composter to residents who wish to purchase one. See further information at getcomposting.com.